Tag Archives: hope

Bruised Reed (2016)

24 Dec

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My newest acrylic on paper.  I’m finding myself painting with renewed vision and vigor.  It is refreshing and exciting in that each time I pick up my brushes and set out to paint I have no idea what to expect or what will emerge in the end.

Heart of a Nation (2015)

7 May

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I am not normally an artist whose work seeks to provoke a response.  But in this instance I guess I am.  As I look around and think about all the things going on in our nation & world sometimes I feel like the very heart of our nation is being swallowed up by these overwhelming issues that have no easy answers and too few people willing to do anything that would lead to or spark significant change.

The violence against black men in our country at the hands of police is an issue that has sparked a profound response and one that I hope leads to significant, systematic change, change that lasts and change that transforms.  We are a country that has faced its challenges in the past and I believe we must be a country that faces the challenges of the present, both those inside our borders and those outside our borders.  Our culture & way of life is at stake if we choose to do nothing.

So I’ve Been Thinking About Things (Shelter)

6 Oct

In my previous post I shared a piece I wrote about essential things necessary for survival.  I am by nature a “less-is-more” kind of person.  I want my personal, consumptive impact on the world to be minimal.  My desire is that my interpersonal impact would be something that at least a few people remember and consider helpful.

My previous post talked about both the necessity of food and how our attitudes about food really have a global ripple effect and have global social justice implications.  If we, as products of our particular cultural and political biases, fail to see how our attitudes about food impact others then we are being short-sighted about the importance of this issue as not merely a pragmatic issue of necessity but as a justice issue impacting people in places where access to food is very different than our own.

Today the topic of shelter comes to mind.  Shelter is on the surface a simple matter of having a place to live that protects us from the elements and gives us a location to store our belongings.  But much like food, shelter is not merely a basic necessity for survival, it has deep implications for personal safety, security, and personality development.

Place matters.  Displaced peoples are confronted by a host of insecurities about life in this world that those of us with adequate shelter often take for granted.  Once again, because many of us do not find ourselves in a place of particularly urgent need it is easy to overlook just how many people are displaced from adequate housing.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that as of 2013, 21.9 million people have been internally displaced by disasters and another 33.3 million people by armed conflicts (an increase of 16% from 2012) (Source: iMDC).  What do these numbers mean in relation to the issue of shelter?  The impact of these numbers cannot be ignored; they reveal, in clear and convincing ways, the critical importance of adequate, safe shelter as a matter of basic human necessity and basic human equality.

The UN publication, Fact Sheet #21, The Right to Adequate Housing, states, “Children’s health, educational advancement and overall well-being are deeply influenced by the quality of housing in which they live. Lack of adequate housing, forced evictions or homelessness tend to have a profound impact on children due to their specific needs, affecting their growth, development and enjoyment of a whole range of human rights, including the right to education, health and personal security” (Source: UN Fact Sheet #21).

Shelter matters.  The physical, social, and psychological impact of place/location are essential to basic health and well-being.  Lacking this necessity or experiencing high levels of insecurity related to this basic need has dramatic impact on people’s lives, especially the lives of children.  I live simply but am incredibly grateful for the shelter I have and don’t want to live in ways that fail to appreciate and value the reality that having a stable location to call “home” is essential not just for me and those I love, but for every person everywhere.

Vine

14 Oct

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I sketched this about two years ago and was thinking about this sketch recently.  I decided to re-sketch it and paint it.  It makes me consider the things in my life that might actually be harming me that I choose to hold onto.  Those things are like a vine wrapping tighter and tighter around one’s heart and soul squeezing the life and joy right out.  My encouragement today is, “Let them go.  Just open your hand and let them go.”

Art & Acceptance

11 Sep

So I have been exploring painting lately.  I have in a fairly short period of time produced a number of pieces of art primarily via watercolor paints on cold pressed watercolor paper.  I haven’t painted since 6th grade (and I’m almost 40), but there has always been an artist in me.  I allowed life and vocation and other circumstances keep that side of me from emerging and being expressed.  I can’t do that anymore, I am an artist and writer at heart.  The more I paint the more I learn to accept the imperfect.  Many of my pieces have imperfect lines and the way the color disburses on the paper is beyond my control.  I have always felt this pressure to be perfect, to be what other people want.  Art allows me to embrace my imperfections and it is such a freeing experience.  Art is a practice that is helping me to learn acceptance.  It has become such a gift in my life, one I intend to embrace and explore for the rest of it.

In the Storm

24 Aug

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Sometimes life is hard.  The waves kick up.  The waters foam.  And yet we don’t give up.  We’re in the storm but the storm doesn’t have to own our hearts.

About Time

13 Aug

Today our nation’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced that he put together a task force of deputy U.S. Attorneys to look at the issue of mandatory sentencing for drug related offenses. While aiding and abetting addicts in the pursuit of their addictive behaviors should never be the stance we take nationally or personally we must also employ the use of common sense sentencing policies for crimes involving possession of currently illegal substances. I agree with Holder that filling our nation’s prisons with repeat drug offenders is not helping rid our communities of illegal drugs, but is instead a veiled war on ethnic communities perceived to be more inclined to use illegal drugs. The war on drugs has failed and it’s about time we acknowledge it and map a better way for the future.

Three Realms

28 Jul

Elusive future.  Idealized past.  Present reality.  We choose to live in one of these three realms.  We vacillate between realms at times.  Thinking too much about what is not yet, wishing too much for what was; missing the gift of what is.   This moment, excruciatingly real and at times just as mundane, is what we have.  And in that tension our hearts reside in what seems a discontinuous movement from hope, to nostalgia, and back to this present moment.

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